Monday, July 29, 2013

Fox News Hits New Low in Interviewing Skills

This is increasingly all over the blogosphere, but just to make sure you see it, I'm placing it here. A Fox News anchor can't for the life of her figure out why a religious historian -- who happens to be Muslim -- would write about historical Jesus.

Because he's an expert in his field, dingbat. Sheesh.

Update. The controversy widens with this WaPo piece by a professor of theology:
When conservative Christian critics decry Aslan’s scholarly take on the historical Jesus as having a Muslim agenda, they might want to note this scholar of religion’s strong argument against anti-Semitism.
In fact, Jesus’s advocacy for the “poor and the dispossessed,” as Aslan documents throughout “Zealot,” is, in my view, yet another driver of the conservative Christian push-back against “Zealot,” in addition to the well-known Islamophobia message machine of the right.
The life and teachings of Jesus, understood in their historical context, are about feeding the poor, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and loving the neighbor as yourself.
That’s Jesus.
Resa Aslan himself suspected what he was in for going on Fox News.

And back to the WaPo piece for a final bit of perspective:
Ironically enough, the role of the historical Jesus vis-à-vis the Christ of faith is less a Muslim-Christian struggle than it is a struggle that rages within Christianity itself and has, over centuries, up until today.  The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth on poverty, for example, are a huge roadblock to conservatives who wish to use scripture to justify cutting food stamps (SNAP).
The conservative Christian view of Jesus in the New Testament is framed not around the person and work of Jesus, but around Jesus’s death, resurrection and return in judgment on sin (The Book of Revelation).  This explains the astonishing disinterest in his life and teachings as is well illustrated by Mel Gibson’s violent film, The Passion of the ChristAs I have written in a book chapter on this subject, this film portrays Jesus as engaged in a “war”; Jesus, in the Gibson film, came not to teach and heal, but to wage war on Satan and sin.  The horrific flogging scene in this movie, where Jesus is whipped before being crucified by the Romans, goes on, from beginning to end for nearly 40 minutes.  The Sermon on the Mount, by contrast, is mere seconds long.
The author of the piece, Susan Brooks Thistlethwait, speaks here to the core of where my humanism comes from, as well as to the origin of my conviction that contemporary conservatism is both bankrupt and amoral. One simply can't hate the poor and claim to be a Christian. That is, unless you execute the mind game illustrated in the above paragraph, and declare that the poor won't take responsibility for being poor and therefore no food for you!

How can one interpret today's conservatism otherwise?

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